Blends. Well, that’s not the right terminology, however I typically group together all blended malts and blended whiskies into the same group. A lot of us do. But the difference is there’s a lack of grain whisky, and this shows up every so often in my reviews.
Or when the whisky starts with “Compass Box”.
This is one of those cases.
The story goes that our protagonist, a plucky gentleman of whom I can’t remember the name, entered a warehouse looking to buy casks for future bottlings. And in a corner of the warehouse sat some interesting casks.
“Yo dawg, what’s up with these crazy motherfuckers?” He said, probably using a different vernacular completely.
“No, sir. Those casks are all underproof, and thus, we have thrown them in the corner, to consider what they’ve done.”
“Crack these bitches open G, I wanna taste!”
None the less, he was given the chance to try older casks from the 60s and 70s of which the whisky, by the legend, had gone underproof, waiting for someone to offer to add flavouring to it. Or whatever they were keeping it for.
The gentleman liked what he tried, so he bought it, which caused the clerk’s bow-tie to twirl and much “Tut” to pop about. He then called up his friend, a distiller at Glenfarclas.
“Yo, G, you got any 15 year Glenfarclas in ex-bourbon barrels that are all lazy and shit?”
“Coming right up sir, would you like fries with that?”
Then he went to blending. And blending. And then aging it all for another 10 years, thus allowing it to be whisky again. And showing all of us how to recycle, because that jive ass motherfucker up above was going to use this whisky to bathe in. Or something.
Different bottles have come out of this rare, odd mash-up. One has planes on it. This is the second one, I think.
So let’s see how this science experiment worked, shall we?
Price: $199.99 CAD at Kensington Wine Market
Region: Blend (contains Macallan, Glenrothes, Tamdhu, Mortlach from 60s & 70s)
Cask type: Sherry butt
Number of bottles: 317
Colour: 5YR 5/8
Nose: Rubber, cinnamon, strawberry, driving through wine mud, leather/snuff
Initial note is rubber without peat or smoke. I’m in new country here. Given time, it has this muddy with wine note thing that I only dealt with while driving through muddy parts of Niagara (wine country).
I’m not going to lie here, this one was hard to discern without making everyone else in the room sit and wait for me. I may have missed some things on the nose. Water opens it up to have leather mixed with snuff. So like doing snuff on a leather chair. In England. While your nose is high up in the air, like the poor are starving but you just don’t care.
Taste: Lake algae, tobacco/fine cigar, orange cake, dandelion, chocolate raisins, mental confusion
Pure mental confusion. The taste goes from my mouth, to my brain, shakes it up a tad, puts up streamers, and boom. Confusion. I’m confused. I take time, I add water, and it’s all a crazy unique drive of flavours that confuse me.
I’m able to pick out some things eventually, thus making this one different from the Brora 20. The tobacco here is more refined, to the point where I enjoy it (typically I don’t like tobacco at all). There’s a vegetal sweetness, a certain amount of funk, and even some orange and cake like notes. Tons of chocolate.
I could write for hours on this one. It’s not an easy dram, that’s for certain.
Finish: Strawberry, cherries Jubilee, figs, smoked sausage (fennel sausage according to Igor), orange rind, grape skin, leather, mushroom risotto
Long finish. Very long finish. So long we took an hour break for it to subside. And it was needed.
Lots of red fruits, more brown sugar/burnt sugar notes, tons of fruit rind as time and water are added, and a mushroom note that has a delicate creaminess.
If I had to complain, I’d say that it was missing spice at the end. Or rather the spice was hidden below the surface of smoke and fruit, and I’d like it to be a bit more punchy.
Conclusion: What can I say? Old whiskies can get a certain complexity that is quite the mind fuck. Everything is complex, everything hits you at once, it’s layered, and it’s all hard to explain. There’s smoke but not peat, earth but no rough sides to it, heat without burning.
If I had to complain, and when I start getting up this high in scoring I have to, the finish could use more spice. For me. That and I’m not the biggest snuff fan, and the nose had a little bit of that. So it loses some points there. But it’s a high rating from me. There were some faint memories caused by this one.
This has been described as all the best from an ancient Macallan Cask Strength with Karuizawa smoke. It’s a no brainer to buy. It’s a no brainer to drink.
If the next one wasn’t so good, I’d have bought this (ooooh, cliffhanger).
Scotch review #587, Blend review #63, Whisky Network review #980